Op/Ed 12/18/09

Contradictions seen in Obama’s position

By Angelina Folchi
Features Reporter

  President Obama delivered a speech at the United States Military Academy at West Point on Dec. 1, making a few promises that may be hard for him to keep.
  One of the president’s main statements in his speech, “The Way Forward,” mentions that it’s in our nation’s best interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan. He believes that this deployment is necessary, because without it, the war in Afghanistan would be prolonged and more costly, and there would be no improvement.
  Liberal anti-war groups strongly disagree with Obama’s actions. They say that the more troops there are, the more problematic it will be for them to leave. Sending armed forces will only encourage the Taliban to fight back even harder, they say. Some Democrats are pressuring Congress to deny President Obama the funds he has requested to pay for the war, estimated to be near $30 billion.
  Many Republicans are grateful for the supplement of troops. They say that we started this war eight years ago and need to complete it. More soldiers will help us finish this task quicker, they say.
  Another promise Obama made was to start pulling troops out of Afghanistan in 18 months. He hopes that by then, the Afghans will have learned how to take matters into their own hands and learn to protect their own country. Both parties believe this deadline is outrageous—that it’s impossible to know when we’re going to pull out of the war before the soldiers are even deployed. We never know what’s going to happen over there. The president has addressed this complaint by announcing that we need this time frame to increase a sense of urgency in working with the Afghans.
  In his speech on the first of December, President Obama stated his three main goals in Afghanistan. The first one is to deny al Qaeda leaders and fighters a safe haven and let them know that they aren’t welcome. Another goal is to reverse the Taliban’s momentum and deny it the ability to overthrow Afghanistan’s government. His third goal is to strengthen Afghanistan’s security forces and government. Hopefully, with our help, the Afghans will be strong enough to fight back for their rights. Obama believes that these additional troops will help achieve these goals.
  When Barack Obama was campaigning for the title of president, he promised to have all U.S. forces out of Afghanistan in no more than a year. Now, coming up on the year mark, the president is sending 30,000 more soldiers overseas. As President of the United States, Obama has obviously been apprised of more details about the war. Maybe now he sees that the situation isn’t as black and white as he thought. It seems that the promise he made wasn’t really a promise after all.
  Obama was awarded with a Nobel Peace Prize on Oct. 9 for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people.” Less than two months later, he’s ironically sending thousands of additional troops to fight in the war in Afghanistan. The president is giving American citizens mixed signals on what he wants for our country, and now no one knows what to think.

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